tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 8, 2014 4:00am-6:01am EST
they do. [applause] [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> i believe that scott is supposed to monitor the next session and i can introduce the first speaker. >> are supposed to do question. please tell me when this question. much of them. i think we have people with microphones. again, just a reminder that we need to question two states one
minute as much as possible. we have a gentleman right here. and then he will be next, i think i see your hand next, the lady over here will be second. >> there's a lady in the back. >> with ask the lady in the back. we will ask the lady in the back since i don't think she's had a chance yet. [inaudible conversations] >> the question is with all the other things on the table, like settlements and resettlement, why is israel's nuclear weapons on the table? and what israel has between 75 and 400 nuclear weapons. that is much more than what's
needed to demolish the world and why are we pushing back on that? why are we only threatening iran which doesn't even have nuclear capacity for power. [applause] >> i would assume if someone wants to go into more detail, there are three words that i think answer that. that maybe someone wants to expand on this. >> i would just say that it's the israelis would never use them responsibly, it's a function of defense and deterrence. the historical record shows they had been aggressive and they have a safe repository of nuclear weapons and wants to take that issue on because it would go nowhere. and that is my short answer.
>> can this be part of an opinion in the legality of the settlement? >> conceivably election happened and there was a decision as to whether a french company was assisting with the settlements were acting unlawfully. but with respect to the possibility of criminal prosecution, that could occur. there are countries that do extend the criminal law to crimes against humanity and war crimes on a very broad basis. irrespective of territory. spain and germany have probably
done the most prominent in that regard. it seems unlikely that that would occur. there has been pushed back against those countries for doing what they have done in that regard so are. so i don't think that it is likely to happen. but it very well could happen. >> hello. i have another question for professor quickly. i'm over here on your left. we shared in a leader of this morning. and my question is about legal status of israel itself. that is to say that there is a
partition according to resolution 181, which was never implemented, as i understand. and the declaration or the proclamation of the state of israel was unilateral and simply accept it. and this may be the the way that states come into being anyway. but the question is what about the requirements of the state and the borders of such a state because israel has never defined exporters and i have certain obligations. so is it a legitimate state in the sense that the people of the region, including those that were expelled talk about its existence.
>> particularly whether israel is a state or accepted in the international community and whether it has in the past committed the genocide and utterly horrible things, it's unfair to all of its citizens and that is not relevant to the question of whether it is or is not part of this. and you can say that israel is a state and can raise this as whether it should've should have been a state. which is really what you're going to. which is another thing that is weak. including self-determination. in 1994 possessed by the clinton administration to go to a backwater place in the southern part of russia called crimea. doing some negotiating about the status of crimea with the
ukraine and actually the leadership impressed me on this very strongly. saying that we should have self-determination be able to decide on where we want to go. coming out of the british mandate it should've been a solution for palestine that took into account the entirety of the population. but in a way once the international community says a state is a state, then it is. and that question was not at all decided by the journalist of the united nations. >> hello. >> there was someone i said would ask a question. jeffrey and others mentioned 1973 yom kippur war.
according to seymour hersh and others, israel is prepared to use a nuclear capability when they were losing the war with egypt until they got them to send this massive airlift of supplies, which then enable them to win the war. but israel was, according to reliable sources, prepared to use that nuclear capability. >> yes, that is what i found. and i'm sure we both do. >> so i don't think there was ever a serious preparation to actually use them and we shouldn't talk about how they were in danger during the war.
they were losing badly and i was a long way from israel proper. and in fact the military battle actually turned before the american resupply operation took effect and the israelis have already stopped the advance rates one has to be careful about attributing this and having this be decisive in the outcome of the war and how close israel was using nuclear weapons. [inaudible question] >> i do not believe it was extortion. i don't think they've done that subsequently. and that's not why we did it. >> on that point he says the egyptians made early advances
because they had been on both state-of-the-art weapons and antitank missiles and the israelis came out them. they lost a lot of aircraft and tanks to be the egyptians, they have been trained in a controlled soviet way and they sort of moved forward and had this in front and they couldn't aggressively pursuing to israel because they didn't have the doctrine for that. so they were never really in danger. it was all a lot of theater and they might resort to extreme measures and everyone in tel aviv new but they really wanted and then they got involved and it was a big deal. we were in the vietnam war. santa was a miracle weapon and a
strike fighter they carried 7 tons of bombs and missiles and still fly as an interceptor. dozens of these unoffending them into israel at a time where they were counterattacking and winning in the rest of it was gravy. so it was a big thing. they were heavily involved in these decisions apart from their own states. so in most cases a lot of this stuff was smoke and mirrors intended to extort things from the u.s., as much as possible. >> i disagree that they really were going to use regular weapons.
gain. >> securities and exchange commission chairman mary jo white on "q&a". >> more now on the situation in the ukraine and next steps for russia, united states, and the international community. stephen pifer is part of this hour and a half discussion from the brookings institution. [inaudible conversations] >> can everyone here may? okay, thank you for coming thank you for coming to the brookings institute and hello to the c-span viewers. we are sorry to be late. we had some trouble getting into the event.
[laughter] that we think of it as a tribute to security. so we are going to discuss the ukraine today. i would say complex and confusing crisis even by the standards of such things. it's interesting to note among the disagreements in the united states and russia, whether there has been an invasion of the ukraine who the president of ukraine is, whether there have been mass attacks on synagogues and churches in the ukraine, and whether hundreds of thousands of people have fled the ukraine, causing a humanitarian crisis. these are facts in dispute. oakley we can bring some clarity to those and other issues. we have a tremendous panel to do that with here today. perhaps not all the perspectives will be represented, but i think that we can shed some clarity on
them. first we have feel the fiona hill on my right. the senate director and my boss. please be nice to her. she is a former national intelligence officer ordered eurasia and the author of mr. putin, operator in the kremlin, which is a fascinating look into the identities of vladimir putin. it may come in useful in the future. on my left we have steve pifer and a former ambassador and former assistant secretary at the state department. to my right we have a senior fellow and author of more books than i have read in a veteran analyst of all of these types of crises. let's kick it off and let's
start with you, if you don't mind. i'm wondering if you can give us a sense of what are the russians doing in the ukraine and what are they trying to accomplish. >> are well aware this is a complex situation in crimea and the ukraine. the best evidence includes these conflicting views about this. and so this is a culmination and a long-established interest in crimea, not just with a strategic relationship of the ukraine. if we all go back to the 1990s at a time when steve was one of our early investors in the ukraine. there have been a host of those at all different levels, including under boris yeltsin, the first president over crimea.
crimea is the one that got away with the post-soviet collapse. we have seen it all over the news. in 1954 by the jurisdiction of the russian federation to the ukraine, there is a great deal of discussion about the historical links between the russian states going back and the establishment of the rule of the russian empire which was different under the protection of the ottoman empire. going back a long time in history. a longtime that was the end of the jurisdiction in the form of a today is than what then what was the russian entity within the russian empire. so it has been a great desire
for the restoration of this bureaucratic state, the cursor family back in the 1950s to bring crimea back into the russian fold with various points talking about this. including the russian parliament over and over again. signing resolutions and bills about the ukraine and various points when american has talked about this in all parts of the russian population into crimea. it's what we are seeing on the ground is not that much of a surprise for many of us who have been watching things over the last 20 years. it was always a time of great crisis inside the ukraine since the assertion of the crimean population than those that have reasserted themselves and again
after 2004 back in 2008. the same time that georgia made the same request it was very complicated as we get along with the discussion we should try to bring this up. many of the population are russian speaking. and they therefore think that it should be part of russia and it was carried out by a crimean sociologists suggested that at the end of february with those interested in some form of unification with russia. and by virtue of the history, the resident have a whole host
cyprus and it was the similar situation that they voted in favor of reunification of greece. and also a triggered a response of the community in northern cyprus. but they moved beyond not just the turkish speaking communities but it was not normally seen as being part of the turkish community. it was used as a bargaining chip but for the next several years everybody would argue but forgetting that the fighters were there about what we're seeing
today and other cities with large russian-speaking populations polling shows they're not interested to be a part of russia but when their real concern is about crimea but just as turkey with the cyprus as ukraine is in the future. we do not want to see it as part of the union did it has made that clear and the red line for russia was crossed. very specifically with the situation of the overthrow and then the question of where the ukraine goes next. >> how low do the ukrainians see this what do they try to do in response? >> as the acting prime
minister the ukraine parliament is now acting president he is thinking why did i take this job? they have a very long and busy to do list. a big part is due destabilize the new government debt is pointed out everybody is talking about the european union and vladimir does not want that to happen. so what do we do internally? we have to get the government up and running and fill all the cabinet and make the turn rain on -- the trade runtime. right now to become acting president as the of perfectly legitimate parliamentary procedures will live have the genesee so getting him in places
important. also to appoint governors. going to the oligarchs that may be a double-edged sword because they question we were trying to get rid of corruption we don't like this model. but do not manage the up coming financial crisis there having those discussions on the ground. but they will work out is the agreement which provides assistance in return for which it will really hurt. one of the good signs that the people in charge recognize that they had i
have the head of kamikaze cabinet ministers because what we have to do will still be paid in full politically that we will all drive our political standing into the ground. they have to manage that. the third challenge is don't do anything dumb. it was then wise for the parliament the first day after yawn a coach fled the country to over turn but you can debate the law but right away a bit of concern this is what is coming to us so as the acting president could veto that because this government wants to be inclusive that the eastern ukraine feels comfortable. also talk about the european union. someone was going to propose a bill about nato sessions
that will provoke internal divisions right now that they don't need. but turning to the external challenges how they deal with crimea? said it is a part of ukraine it is very complicated but the agreement recognized from 1991 when the soviet union collapsed each republic is a republic of its current order and crimea was part of the socialist republic so that is the starting point. the problem is for all its flaws they basically accepted that. every time in the '90s with a russian parliament would claim they would do the right thing.
we respect ukraine's integrity the problem that it now has it is vladimir putin as president and he does not believe that. it is very important to but to keep the military restraint and they probably have 12,000 ukrainian troops of the peninsula. several cases where they tried to provoke them but that is important. i think it is a little bit less tense with military terms than a couple of days ago. but russia and ukraine right
now through the 20 year-old soldiers mistake and there needs to be some action some kind of the escalation having guys with guns standing across from each other is not a good idea. a and the decision yesterday by the crimean parliament to join russia. although now there are reports out of 100 there are a number that said they were not told of the vote or denied entry so they could not cast the dash injury. -- the boat by not sure that they could pocket but they will try to delegitimize win that the referendum as against the law.
when colleagues reported 2.$2 million was printed for the referendum because crimea only has 1.8 million residents. the russians have refused to allow observers on to the crimean peninsula. although it is not clear they have the tools to stop it. then they need to keep pushing that they are prepared to talk. so for the russian attitude the it illegitimate government they still recognize yanukovich as the president. he gave us a tv interview a couple weeks ago i note the getty one knows where he is. i think president clinton it
is a press conference said he has no political future there was some indication may be that economic dialogue. these are all big challenges for a cabinet that is eight days old and it will be a real test of the next couple of months. >> it is a tough job but comes with a guy's house. [laughter] but just to clarify when i listen to your strategy on crimea i am not clear if there represents the actual attempt to hold on or just the attempt to have the soft landing while they lose it? >> i think they will push to hold on. the ukrainian point of view is not just about crimea. because 60 percent of that
population is ethnic russian but in 1991 and 54% voted for independent ukrainian state. so voting will be a little more interesting. so they will boycott the referendum but i don't think they're prepared to give it up but it would be asking themselves if we just accept crimea's departure do we then set a precedent that the russians would try to not apply to other to pull off the eastern ukraine as well? i suspect they will stand very hard on this. >> this is a complex and confusing situation that the united states is typically good at insuring. what do you see as their response?
>> nice to be a part of the panel. i say a couple of things to frame the discussion at all dealing president obama should be influenced by the broader political debate whether somehow his foreign policy or uncertainty has provoked this. probably not. he has done some fairly robust things that are underappreciated he may want to talk about how he rebalance the asian-pacific to rebalance the budget increase still have 35,000 troops in afghanistan he may want to say those also think about fixing the policies such as syria but i don't think he should worry and is inclined to worry. the supposedly it needs to be proven wrong.
the stakes are too high the potential for doing something wrong is too high. but what specific small military options? not in the direction of the ukraine itself but we have a lot of nato allies and we're doing some things to make them less worried like combat aircraft in the baltic states are half a dozen more than we may have spent on a recent rotation. that is what we should be prepared to do because there should be no doubt. at this point it is they all compete in where we extend our alliance. if we have the general and blatant against the ukraine to help the military with
assistance should be seriously considered. was just reviewing the military budget it was only 2.5 billion but russia is 70 billion. almost a 20 / one disparity in spending levels and eight / one. i am not encouraging to suggest a fair fight it is always better at any point when it escalates this reasonable and appropriate to think at least to protect certain parts of the country if it comes to that i hope that it does -- that it won't. budget the admiral that i admire said we should get the nato rapid reaction force to mounter the stages of preparation to do something. he suggested was worth making the russians rory but i flat out to not agree to
in fact, direct military suggestion of direct action in this crisis because i think putin will see them as symbolic and secondly i hope they are because i don't see any mission we could carry out in this context even if things got worse. but as one more point there is a lot to talk about with the issue of nato future role i'm opposed i would like to see us reaffirm the commitment of the reaffirmation to make it clear we are prepared to use economic sanctions if this gets worse but not talk about military membership kissinger had an op-ed that we may need to think about
offering to putin to a college he is the bad guy which he is and i am not trying to suggest we cover or apologize that ways we could offer some faith and the indefinite postponement to be a reasonable thing. now where we do need to be prepared if things stay as they are there is a referendum on secession in crimea and a version goes along with that but the problem is it is way too soon. i am not against the discussion personally official be independent but it has to be after tempers and fears have called. putin likes to raise kosovo that was still in favor to recognize it but a least a took a decade and let things calmed down. that is the proposal of a
referendum after a year or two. if they stay as they are ready to apply sanctions better her fall to the russian navy to not broadbased simply of the referendum with the potential and a station or go after their energy sector or the banks but his cronies and vladimir putin need to have restrictions on their bank accounts and pieces tuesday in place for years to send a message very clearly. also permit the fed -- yvette to russia from a the g8 we need to make this a penalty in the event putin annexes crimea under the referendum. i would suggest strong measures will not consider general sanctions against all of russia unless things are substantially worse than even this referendum if we
saw a large scale war that is where we come down like a ton of bricks economically and i would probably not even go there with the referendum necessarily. so that is a quick overview on the tools we have a and the initial take what to ann folk and at what stages. >> when we think about russia and putin would react to some of those steps i think we have to understand what position putin comes from to take these measures. in some of the commentary the notion that this represents a russian weakness rather than strength. that this invasion demonstrates he could not pull the ukraine in to a
russian orbit and it guarantees to an ever is left will move to the west or to the succession agreement he tries to avoid. what do we think of this argument and how putin might react. >> we have to be very careful about categorizing as weakness or strength especially like this. we are seeing less from president obama perceived as being weak or the instigator. by we know the situation is much more complex and difficult but we cannot make these black and white distinction's but what putin
is doing is taking advantage of the moment of weakness perhaps he is in a position of strength. looking at what has been happening leading up to the crisis settled think anyone would have predicted in the way that it has but he hosted a very successful olympic games bill is much worse than the romney running again to london saying you are not ready but the security issues there was those structural disasters in to the key had
a nice sunny weather and the snow melted. then washington d.c. gets it? [laughter] but then he got a huge pond in his popularity by his activity at home was on the cover trajectory. november december last year was 63 .4%. but putin is the only game in town politically. he was then 80% but now that is the drop. budget the narrative of the ukraine in russia this demonstrates this. what putin is pointing to is
a disaster, the chaos, nationalist extremist , a protest movement out of control with no leadership. this is the result of economic crisis. putin was critical of yanukovich saying i would not handle it like this. his position at home is strong from the 1990's. i presided over coming into his second decade this is what you get if you miss manage the situation. but without any kind of purpose to overthrow the government. the vast majority wi the
eastern parts of the ukraine but what we are arguing about and on the ground i find it meaningless because it gets out in the immediate is the one size depiction. said right now putin operating from strength while he has a bump in the ratings in a position of strength. he does not do it for us but for his political base at home. but crimea is a popular symbol it is something that russia lost. not just a territory or a vacation destination it is
all about speakers. their left from the of russian federation in even the baltic states are feeling nervous because of the past there has been a lot of questions about the russian speakers or those local elites who also spoke russian about their fate and disposition so this is about the soviet union but what the brits have been engaged in in the '80s were in 56 or the french this is post imperial hangover that a lot of people have felt very badly about. this plays very well at home if the narrative holds. but if it falls apart it has question arose of territorial acquisitions but
in that historic state also the jennet empire east of the river in the 1860's and then it over three japan there were disputes that could backfire for putin over the long term but we should be right careful right now. >> as fiona hill just reminded us is over the past 20 years a unique system. and i am wondering for what they're losing is since they
always had the view that it is say nationalist country, will this invasion or a potential loss of crimea change that system moving forward? will they be able to unite east and west? >> a big question here will turn on how competent or effective is this government? is unable to be inclusive? they did not get off to a good start with the cabinet of ministers there's no one to say the eastern ukrainian it is unfortunate. they did offered cabinet positions that the president yanukovich old party and they turned the job down.
that could be a smart political calculation if he calls the kamikaze cabinet perhaps you don't want to be a member. so maybe to show they can manage things and a confident, open, transparent way and lose the habits of the past. and passed to look different than the previous presidents. and there will be challenges from russia. i think they will test. now there is protest tourists because russians come across the border than the first thing they do was look for the quickest rally to go join or stir one cup. this is the model we probably saw in the crimea one week ago. actually did not get a sense of the tensions with the ethnic russians and ethnic
ukrainians. the koreans are still trying to find a place to live but not real friction. i think we went from that point to join the russian air of the referendum in part because there was an effort to encourage that. had ration not wanted that to happen it probably would not. but that will be a challenger to eastern ukraine but remember crimea is the only part of the ukraine where ethnic russians are a majority. there may be english speakers probably 45 percent uses russian as their first language but everywhere else in the ukraine, they are the ethnic majority. sometimes we use eastern
verses western ukraine but i think that has been blurred over 20 years even in the '90s traveling to the eastern ukraine i would give a sense of national identity. not as deep in the west but the essence that they would see themselves solving most of the problems as ukrainians. that is important to bear in mind. . .
those all over crimea as well. but the question is going to be, how too ukrainians look at this? my guess is that support for drawing closer to the european union, which by some polls in the fall was anywhere from 51% 58%. in eastern ukraine where they're likely uncomfortable with what happened in kiev, how the government left and how that crimea is a bigger shock and may have the unintended consequence, perhaps of helping the country unite. and the last point, they have to be very careful how they handle
nato. i think i hear what mike is saying and i guess i would just disagree. my guess is that over the next ten years you're not going to see ukraine seriously consider joining nato, and i say this as somebody in 2008 who testified to congress that ukraine was ready. they checked all the boxes but in the last five years i would re-assess that. even when you had a pro-nato government, the popular support never got above 28%, and nato is never going to seriously consider a country for membership when you bring in a country where the population is not comfortable with that and it's difficult for me to see that changing. so on the one sense the russians ought to be assured there's in the a realistic prospect in the next five to ten years of ukraine joining nate though. the problem is there's no way
that the united states government and nato can or should say to the russians, no, we're not going to take it in. that's the hard part. there's a reality, which is they won't be there, though i just think with the open door and all of the statements made since then, it would be very hard for nato to tell the russians, ukraine is off the board, even though that may reflect where things are de facto. >> mike, i'd like you to responsibility to that a little bit and also just to step back a little bit and think about -- let us have a sense what you think the administration's long-term vision for ukraine and for this crisis is? do they see it in the way steve present ordinary too they have an alternative view? >> first of all, i obviously learn a lot from listening to steve, and i have no doubt about his reading of the ukrainian politics and public opinion or of the history of nato's commitment to ukraine and trying to keep alive the option of potential nato membership. and i realize it's now hard to walk that back and it might seem
like too much of a concession or apiecement of putin. i guess the way -- however, think if it got to the point where we had to find some way to address this question as an impasse in an otherwise potentially successful negotiation, you might be able to find some clever language. might be able to say, we cannot imagine ukraine joining nato under current circumstances. and the would have to be some kind of a broader shift in the security environment in europe, maybe creation of a supra nato additional confederation or grouping that russia could be part of as well, and i don't know how you word this in a communique, but you can basically keep alive the option of ukrainian membership in the long term under different circumstances, without necessarily ruling it out but also making it clear russia there was going to be more of a delay than just the five or ten years that steve talked about, all he could take to the bank. if we had to fine creative
wording i would encourage us to find the creative wording. that would be reduce it to yes or no, option or not. secondly in terms of america's long-term interests -- i want to turn the question back to you -- jeremy, we're glad to have him back. he was in the administration and was always a thoughtful brainstormer on new ideas, whether wind or outside, and you have your own insights and thoughts how the administration might want to handle this. i would say the first instance we obviously would like it not to be a major international crisis. we don't need another. this sounds like usually on the talk shows the next step is to say, all obama wants to do is build this nation at home and withdraw and blah blah blah and he is weak. most of us should want this to go away. there's really nothing to be gained for the united states by an escalating showdown. leave aside whether it can be resolved peacefully in the end. the showdown itself produces
nothing desirable. so the showdown needs to be minimized, and we need to bet back to encouraging ukraine of whatever strife it's current leaders may have. their economy is one of the worst performers in europe in the last 20 years by almost any measure leif i'm signposted out 20 years ago poland and ukraine were sim floor size and population and gdp. today poland has three times the gdp, and today poland is ranked 50th in the world in good governance and ukraine is 155th and that was true under not just yanukovych but his pret scissor so my overall view -- begs some of the questions you can follow up with -- but diffusing this and not making it anymore of a zero sum showdown than necessary is the core interest we have. there's no other big thing to be gained here.
>> okay, so, we have -- we're about halfway through, which for those of you keeping score of the moderator, the exactly right time to go to the audience. let's take questions from the audience and then come back to the panel. when you ask a question, identify yourself and make your your question ends with a question mark. >> thank you, i. a barry mitchell and rite the mitchell report. i want to come back to a comment steve made earlier about -- with respect to how ukraine handles the situation, which is do nothing stupid. no unforced errors. and put that into perspective of , as fiona calls him, mr. putin. what -- i'm interested to know
what acts of commission or omission putin could engage in, if there's anything such as engauging in an omission but you know what i mean. how can putin blow this? it seems to me he is already essentially said, i don't care what the rest of the world thinks. i'm doing what is in the interests of russian nationalism and that's the person i am. so most of his down side, would seem to me dish may be wrong -- is his domestic and political in nature. so i'm interested in knowing if there's a thought experiment that can be had here about what is going through his head and what actions might he take that would have him basically say, you know, putin lost ukraine or lost crimea or lost his
political saliency in russia. >> let's take a couple of questions. >> i'd just like to put on the table here what we're talking about is nothing short of thermonuclear world war iii with this kind of dangerous rhetoric, with obama calling this an invasion, when according to the '97 agreement with ukraine, russia can have up to 20,000 troops -- year you getting into a question in i'm getting nervous this is a speech. >> that's fine. >> it's not fine. it's a worry so please gift my attention. >> my question to you is the u.s. and the european union backed a nazi coup of known nazi networks, followers of banderas, to overthrow a government and is now talking about setting up a confrontation with russia where obama launches economic
sanctions -- >> i think you're still missing the question concept here. >> the question is, how are you guys justifying a joseph gerbil style prop began that that will lead to world war iii. >> i'll take the next question. >> this is based on the ukraine but goes the other side of the world. does anyone up there think that china is watching this closely and it will affect what china does vis-a-vis japan and south china sea? >> i'm -- identify yourself. >> david woo. >> thank you. so why don't we come back to the panel with those three questions. and maybe we can start with you, fiona, and you can handle that mr. putin question. >> thanks. well, the mr. putin question and the second question are similar
and interrelated, actually, you might not think it. on the first one, because we are indeed in a situation here of pretty sharply competing -- there's a certain depiction in the russian official media about what its happening and we have a very different depiction here. sometimes our depictions are all over the place as well, and i have to say pretty ill informed. i've been watching cnn, stuck in an airport for hours and watched so many bizarre maps of ukraine going by and heard ukraine's real name was -- no one is doing their homework here. and it's so very easy to fall into thans of these very simplistic depictions which is what people thrive on. who wants to have a certain outcome under these kinds of circumstances. the narrative i was second -- our second unidentified
questioner, a host of other outlets from the various -- i've been watching a lot of russian cable television recently, and it's a very striking anywhere sis here -- narrative here and we have to be careful about repeating that back. the same kind of extremist groups opressing in ukraine are here in the united states, are here all the way across europe and also in russia itself. putin right from the very beginning of his presidency has been extremely concerned about extremists. of all stripes. including russian nationalistic extremists. he said that specifically. one reason he pursued the war in chechneya to a very bitter end and ongoing insurgency was to put down extremism, as he put it and he said in multiple speeches over and over again he is opposed to extremism of any form. he is playing to the nationalistic extremists at home in russia that could be very worried. he is extremely worried about the same kind of people who are
being seen in groups on the streets in kiev and elsewhere. you can look in finland, norway, nether leans, uk, you can look in germany, anywhere and find right-wing extremist groups proposing their own form of nationallallism and infiltrating protests across the globe. doesn't matter where you look. late be honest. we all have our own extremist, and in fact in polling and certain work, before the seven to twelve percent of any population also any time, depending where there's a sense of crisis, will hold extreme views and be prepared to take violent action. i grew up in the and you can have seen nationalisms of all stripes, been in battles and saw someone stabbed in front of me when i was 11 years old during the troubles in ireland so i'm saying here, i may sound emotional. this is something we see across the board everywhere. so you can put to rest this whole idea of propaganda.
it's very easy to find extremists. the person who has been trying extremely hard before to keep things under control. he keeps people like one of russian's national extremist lite leaders under tight -- they keep them corralled in political formats and away from the streets. putin has seen on the square just outside the kremlin violent, interethnic, intercommunal violence by soccer high high hooligans. there have been problems againstth neck check kneans. put -- chechneyaan. putin is very worried about this and obviously why ukraine is important. it's important for putin to show what can happen if someone doesn't have a very strong fist. that's why we are in the
situation right now and that's ills why it could backfire, because if this narrative gets out of control, if people see something different on the streets of ukraine, they'll start asking at home, what is this? putin has to keep his nationalists, his extremeis on a tying leash. there could be blowback. the other blow back is the union. the president has been trying to build this expanded ewan union russia, cass stack stand, and bell a reduce, and violence can work against that, and opinion polls about 80% of russians are against immigration and against migration, meaning people moving around the rest of the russian federation. the eurasian union is supposed to be lie think european union, open borders and free movement. if 50% of the russian population are not keen of this we get situations out of control and it doesn't bode well for the future
of the union. if russia is going too far in the defense of russian spikers. what will the cossacks and russian speakers going to think about the impolice indication of the eurasian union. so all of these different narratives will work against each other. putin is -- this where is the difficulty becomes of the imbalance, keep control of the alliances. it's important for all the kind overneartives like we just heard today to take precedence in russia. otherwise our competing analysises are being pushed back with a very aggressive defense. so we have to understand here that putin faces just like the rest of us, very complicated political situation at home and he has a big coalition that includes a lot of really nasty generallophobeike views. so he has the same difficulties our politicians have but more acutely. russian language is -- this is
something that existed for a very long time. and putin knows what extremists can do to help bring down the soviet union, something which he deeply regrets, bring down the russians. they were a problem at the time the russian revolution, and again with the collapse of the soviet union and he is trying to head that off. >> the form of a plug i'll mention ones of our colleagues, hannah, has done a piece in taboo magazine today looking at these -- looking at the question of extremists and antisemitic narratives in ukraine and putting evidence to the question, and i would recommend it to you very highly. >> i'd like to -- just a couple comments. the second questioner didn't identify himself but point of fact. under the agreement between ukraine and russia,ian -- russia is allowed to maintain black sea fleet and certain support units in crimean that was never in dispute. there was no indication at all about the new ukrainian
government was going to challenge that. but yet the agreement did not allow the russian military to seize the airport, other points of entries. e set up checkpoints and occupy the peninsula in a military way. those go well beyond what the agreement permitted the russian military to do. just on the question of a nazi coup, that is -- again, that's the view one gets if one follows just russia today. certainly in the demonstrators there were far-right elements. so i think to tar the entire group with the label is just simply wrong. if not insulting. we had -- actually hannah, our colleague, was there three weeks ago and said, you saw people from middle class, you saw families with kids, you saw a whole spectrum of ukraine out there which was protesting not just about the decision by mr. yanukovych in november not
to proceed with the european union association agreement, but it has broadened over the course. it was demonstration against the corruption which was endem nick and has grown worse under mr. yanukovych. a protest against the thor tarean -- thaw tearianism. and there were elements we were are uncomfortable with. but you can't use that to tar the entire group. going back to the first question, how does mr. putin blow this? i think there are a -- right now i think he is in a fairly strong position and feeling fairly good. but i think there are couple of ways he can blow this and begin to change the game. the referendum going to be conducted in crimea next week, i don't think there's any doubt what the occupy oklahoma -- outcome will be, whether it's fair or not is another question. how will russia respond in if they move to the next crima,
that will be a mistake for mr. putin. the narrative they tried to construct in crimea, this is about protecting aggression, it gets overwhelmed be the fact it is what it is, naked land grab. that could be a mistake. if there's military action, a week ago people were -- six days ago, a certain nervousness with these russian maneuver north of even ukraine, with the russians going into eastern ukraine. certainly the pretext that mr. vladimir putin is it we'll protect our russian come patriots which is not just russia citizens, it's basically russian citizens wherever they may be. military action either by design in eastern ukraine, or if something happens in crimea. if crimea declares itself independent and then they say to the ukrainian military you have to leave, and the ukrainian military says, no, we're going to stay on our bases, a military
conflict. that could change the game in terms of how mr. putin is seen in ukraine and europe and perhaps back in russia. >> mike, this is confusing episode for the chinese. can you give us some sense how they might be viewing this? >> i'll try my best. a couple of points. first point is it's a very difficult but different problem in east asia in the sense that as you reverendded with the south china sea and the east championship sea, what is disputed is not territory anybody is living on, almost exclusively, and so that makes it a much different kind of problem. not necessarily easier or harder but different. so, that makes me feel a wee bit better in the sense there's not a direct linkage necessarily what might happen in crimea we may not be able to undo and what the chinese may be tempted to consider doing in the east and south china sea. point one. point number two, when you look
at both these contacts together it's a reason i would you have to be very careful about your military rhetoric and signaling, not just what you actually do by way of operations but what you even talk about threatening. i don't want threats that aren't credible in either place, and so i think this is a reason not to send too many u.s. navy ship others into the black sea,-a-they have anything to do with the resolution of the problem. it's not time to mobilize rapid reaction force, unless our allies in the baltics or poleland get nervous they wouldn't mind a few more people from other countries coming to visit but we don't have to call that a rapid reaction force under those circumstances inch this case it underscores the importance of being precise on what you're prepared to use military force for and what you're not prepared to use it for, and you shouldn't let the light get too blurred. then finely in some contrast to my second point, think you have to make people pay a real prize
even for things you're not prepared to go to war for if there's no basis in international law or decency in what they just did. and so if russia annexes crimea in a week there has to be a lasting pain, and i personally would not consider it to be a major international crisis that necessarily makes me sleep less well but russia has to suffer lasting consequences, especially putin and his inner circle, and i'd like to see us begin the conversation about what set of sanctions would be appropriate under those circumstances. certainly seizing the assets of or at least freezing them of the inner circle is a good place to start. certainly prevents reese saturday for this crop of imperialists from the kind of movement into western europe and the united states asia reasonable place to start. this would be an action that would have to be undone at some level and we would have to do things differently, permanently, until it was undone and i can't
imagine russia belonging in the g8 after that action. some of these things maybe it's better not of the have secretary kerry or president obama say them because it gets put a put more riled up and we know how he likes to act. think we need to have these conversations at a more general level. has to be a last, just like a lasting price if tomorrow we woke up and china had taken two of the islands overnight and had no intention of leaving. we don't have to do an amphibious assault to push them off but there has to be lasting price. >> just ask you -- i think asking the way the united states has an obligation to improcess improcess the price and goes back to the budapest memorandum of security assurances. ukraine halved 1900 nuclear warheads targeted at the united states, and part of the price we agreed to play in 1994 to get ukraine to say we'll transfer the weapons back to russia for
elimination, we said we'll give you security assurances along with the russians and british, commitment to your territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence no use of force against you, whole string of now i would argue russia has vie violated. that's an important choice of words. assurances. not guarantees. we give guarantees to nato allies, japan, south korea, and that has a military connotation and we're clear when the talked to the ukraines and said there's a reason we use this word assurances north, guarantees. we're not prepared to give you a ticket or chit that may not have a number but has military. we will take an interest in your state and if these commitments become threatened we are prepared to react and the things we're talking about. political, diplomatic, economic measures to punish russia are appropriate in terms of us fulfilling our commitment to the
ukrainians in 1994 and i argue the way to do it is to use political lever and financial and economic assistance with the international monetary found help ukraine succeed. in a way the best way to get revenge on what has happened with russia last week is three or four years from now you look at ukraine, there's a country, their economy is turning around, they are growing, stable democratic institutions, looking more like poleland. that's the way to stick a thumb vladimir putin's eye. >> let's go back to questions. we have a lot. dr. kagan there. >> debra kagan. senior state department fellow. just a quick question. there's a pattern here of bad behavior.
muldova, georgia, now this. i think that a lot of the reluctance of others in the west to -- short of stripping russia from the g8 -- is energy. have you given consideration to something that i think a lot of us have been thinking about and i heard bill richardson say, what if the united states proffererred to start selling natural gas to europe to ukraine to poland to countries who have higher than a 40% publish germany the highest but higher than 40% of dependence on russia for that. what is your reaction to having the administration offer to do that. there are no laws against it. only laws against oil experts from the '70s but not natural gas. to start doing that in order to put not just ukraine more at ease but break the russian hold on a number of west europeans who are reluctant to join these
more fervent economic sanctions because they know that russia has them over the barrel, no pun intended. >> i would ask that person i took the microphone from. >> i'm from -- could you elaborate this argument that crimea and this invasion of the russia to crimea is not really connected to ukraine cries but it's -- ukraine crisis but it's much more beyond and it connected more to the strategic amibition of putin in the black sea region and in the mediterranean, and in this time took again the advantage of the crisis in ukraine the same way he took it in georgia when at that time again it was a good
opportunity for him to take a -- to improve his strategic position regarding central asia and the whole eurasian region, and what you think in this very, again, very realistic approach, there is any kind of option for deal? i mean, crimea to put in. >> let's go to the back. all the way to the back. give the interns some exercise. >> thank you. jim johnson. i'd like to follow up on what fiona was talking about, the role of putin as are bitter -- arbiter in a potentially less authoritarian political situation that american media points to. there's a growing thought that put a put is a quote-unquote weak dictator. at we have been speaking here russian troops by interfax and
ukrainian tv have physically stormed a ukrainian base, entered the premiseses and assault vehicles driven up to the base. the reason i raise this to you there's some thought here about how to deal with a russian regime that may not be in fact a solitary decisionmaker where in fact local events on the ground and other interest groups around putin may in fact be trying to control circumstances as much as the man himself. thank you. >> steve, let's start with you. can you address that energy? >> i think this is a great idea on terms of american experting. there are reconfigure racing of terminals being built eight years ago to receive lng, now being converted to export lng, which we can do. and i think there's a good arguement to be made, is it time for the united states to reconsider whether we have this ban on exports of crews -- crude
oil, whether to lift that. this is a very good way to push back against the russians. this is not hostile. this it is not provocative. this is just the united states making smart economic decisions to allow to us export energy to global markets so that we can draw more revenue in the united states and if that just happens to push the prices of energy down, oil goes down and gas problem is a bit less revenue, that's the way the market works. so i think this would be something worth doing. and it may be also that this is something that may be happening in any case in term of europe which get as quartser of its natural gas from russia. they have already been the victims twice of disputes between ukraine and russia. in 2006 and then again in 2009, when the contract expired, russia basically, after negotiating for several days, said we have no contract so we're turning the gas off to
ukraine. the only gas we're pumping into the pipe is gas 0 to go to europe. it's all the same pipe and the fun funny thing happened when the russians did that, no gas came to europe, so the only way the russians could cut ukraine off was to stop exporting goose europe. twice that happened and that has caused europe to think in a more serious way about energy security and russia's reliability as a supplier of energy, and there is a potential right now, because still russia pumps upon probably between 60 and 70% of the gas to europe goes through ukraine. that's card the ukrainians have not played because that gets very, very complicate knowledge built if this thing spins out of control, europe -- there's a chance there could be one more gas cutoff and that would only encourage european countries to think further about alternate sources. and that's run reason why the russians have to be careful
because when gas problems produce gas in western siberia, that gas can only to europe. they don't have the connector pipelines into asia so they export the gas or sit on it. >> fiona, how do you feel about the -- >> can i make a comment on the energy in this is something we're hearing a lot of. this is a long game and not something we can do by next week, next month, or next year, and put put is also prepared to press ahead with the laying of the south stream pipeline across the black sea. which is also going to be complimenting the pipeline already across the baltic sea, the north stream pipeline into germany. so removes ukraine has a transit route. one aspect of this, all kinds of the things come into play. the russians sit on the gas.
we're concerned about global warming and when the russians can't sell their gas they don't have enough means to capture its for export, it floats into the atmosphere so at much of 60bcm of glass across siberia. the energy tool is not so simple to effect, and i agree over the longer term -- across the medium term, not an option that will turn vladimir putin around anytime soon because actual expert volumes have gone up in europe in spite of the mild weather, norway has not hads the capacity to basically substitute, and in fact what has been coming is cole from wyoming and -- is being ships to germany and elsewhere. so we are playing in this game already but it's a long game we're in for. we can make the moves but in the short to medium term it's still a question of russian dominance and we have to start working on this. we're not going change the tide
that way. that gets into the questions as well about the sort of strategic -- another larger issues. putin is basically moving while he can. he may kind of look weak over the longer term, may have difficulties, not being completely in charge, over longer term we might be able to fact the calculation on energy but right now he is in a position of relative strength geostrategically because of weakness of other and the chaos elsewhere. he benefits from the fact that russia may be a direct democracy in his popular rating, the elections but it's in the the robust democracy. president obama can't basically move for people biting at his ankles and clobbering him over the head. he can't be a leader because at every front everybody is basically complaining about his activity. the putin doesn't have to suffer from that. he doesn't have people calling him an idiot, left, right and center, or members of congress
blocking his able to do something only sanctions or pushing him to do something and take action. he doesn't have his media hounding him. his media is a highly orchestrated settings, throwing him softball questions and praising him for his accomplishments. so, he is actually right now able to move forward in a more decisive fashion. it is however true that what happens on the ground is often beyond the purview of putin. he is being very opportunistic here. he is seeing the weakness ofs could acting like he did with syria over the chemical weapons and there's vested interests on the grounded. people who make their money out of these kinds situations, elite members of the military who might think they're better off of being on the payroll of russia instead of ukraine. and the 1990s conflicts through to georgia, it was
highly apparent there were local actors. in 1990s goas -- georgia and ukraine and various figures basically exposed the opportunity of -- we can say that is definitely happening again. we many respects in the 190s, in yugoslavia, at the airport -- remember this very well -- one of the local commanders thought here's an opportunity i'm going to try to do something in the middle of the balkans conflict and then may be some greater opportunity here. so we have to be careful in interpreting events. and remember that there is kind lots of crises that happen from the ground up but what happened in the case of ukraine, and the difference is that putin has been better position to take advantage of the crisis than we have.
>> so let's go back for one more round from the audience. gentleman on the aisle. >> thank you. some questions. first, in terms of legitimacy of the ukrainian authority, i'm wondering, do you think that -- agreement a little longer, and on this issue what kind of compromise are you expecting from other players? and finally, there is -- can be such a compromise, what will the crisis affect future events, like the eu, ukrainian and may election. >> i'm having trouble seeing beyond the lights. maybe you can pick a couple of people in the back.
thank you. >> ricardo, visiting here. >> good choice. >> i have a question for whole panel. i was wondering where we can expand the discussion to include also the role of russia in issues of international concerns outside europe, and so what is in your opinion -- what impact is this crisis in your opinion going to have on russia's calculus and its interests to cooperate with the west on, for instance, afghanistan or to a certain extent even syria, but above all, iran. thank you. >> so, kathy, one more person in the back. >> my name is contes a from "the new york times." i'd like to ask the panelists how realistic is the idea of
having a confederation that should include russia, what are the objectives of dismiss should this end the competition with russia? >> the february 21 question. on february 21, after three very violent days in kiev, there was an agreement reached between yanukovych, the former president, and the three opposition leaders, the three main opposition leaders, and it was witnessed -- well, actually, you have the german, polish, and french foreign ministers there workingover night to en -- working overnight to encourage this and the ambassador from the russian federation as well. there was a draft done initialed by yanukovych and the three
opposition leaders, and then the four others, the german, french, and polish foreign ministers and the ambassador initialed the draft as witnesses. there was then the period of consultation. they came back and they finalized the document to sign. at that opinion it's interesting. the -- the ambassador did not stay to witness the actual signature so when you see the final document where it should have had eight signatures there are only seven. i understand this came after the consulted with moscow and russia said, don't associate yourself with that agreement. what then happened -- there's a question, would that agreement have been able to go forward? it was pretty clear -- three major elements. called for the creation of national unity government, called for revising the constitution to go back to the 2004 version which had more of a balance of power between the president on one hand and the prime minister and the parliament on the other, and it
called for moving up the presidential elections which were going to be in probably march of next year, up to sometime this fall, between september and december. the last point was very hard for them. the view was, wait a minute, yanukovych, ran the government. the previous day, 75 -- well, the numbers -- 70 demonstrators are killed. many by snipers, and the view was we don't see this guy being in office for one more day, let alone until the fall. so i'm not sure whether that agreement would have been -- would have withstood the challenge from the demonstrate years but we never dot to that point because m-yanukovych, signed the statement, walked out, packed up all the valuables he could take and fled. the next day in a short filmed
interview where he was asserting he was still the president, then disappeared for six days until he gave a press conference last week in russia, and as far as i know he has not been seen since then. so, the agreement kind of fell apart because president yanukovych abdicated, and you really had no executive authority. at that opinion, yanukovych has already accepted the resignation of his prime minister, who i believe had then gone to moscow. took the steps of appointing the speaker as the acting president. i think this is all consistent with the parliamentary rules in ukraine, but i think it does underscore the importance of having the presidential election in may and having it be free and fair in way that gives the ukraines confidence we have a
elected leader who will have a degree of legitimacy that the current acting president does not. so getting to that point is very important. >> fiona, the eurasian union. how is this affecting the prospect of that. >> if that was the question. the question about the confederation with russia. i wasn't entirely clear. there's two different ways that question could be answered. unless we gate clarification. there is discussion about turning ukraine into a federation that is happening right now, being pushed from russia and some other -- as one solution to the problem. so crimea and many other regions, including parts of eastern ukraine, get the maximal autonomy which dilutes the influence of kiev, and the state of ukraine and that would increase in mayne many respects the potential influence of russia.
that's something that actually in ukraine has been rather unpopular as an idea for a very long time, since then 1990s. and precisely because there is some divergence of view in regions, and opinion polls that show that. there's no such thing as the average ukrainian, and even within region there's no obvious viewpoint. ukraine like any other country -- like the united states itself has divergence, regional differentiations and a different pulse of red-blue inside of each different state or substate entity. so, that is actually very difficult issue. the eurasian union, in our discussion now, reached a different level. this is again the customs union idea of bringing ukraine into the russian customs union. the idea that was initially put forward on the part of the russians, negotiation between the eurasian union and the
european union to have higher level trade negotiations. some variation of that is now back on the table. there are talks including coming out to the eu there has to be away of diffusing these tension officers come petting trade blocs. the idea of the european union association agreements, the transatlantic trade partner ship, transpacific partnership, the idea that the wto has ground to a halt and although trade negotiations are going nowhere and that maybe a regional whether bloc could find -- more likely to lead to confrontation and to more confusion. so now there's a discussion going on behind the scenes about how can we get across that? how can we find different ways of discussing this and finding out what is the main construct by the russians and others by the creation of these blocs. it is entirely possible that there could be some more
discussion about eurasian union, dnr european union and having a very pragmatic discussion about what is the real roots of this sort of conflict and the confrontation over this. asked about impact further afield and i think might in particular -- talk about this on afghanistan -- going to be great deal of complication on this syria and iran front in this, because we saw the blocking of the un envoys into crimea over the last few days. been discussions about having a u.n. monitoring mission of some over -- also the case in georgia. at the russians don't look very happy about that and yet the discussions about syria and iran are taking place in the u.n. framework and we need to have russia onboard in the u.n. context, given the u.n. security council role, for the syrian and iranian negotiations,
discussions of the peace, at least what -- peace process of the syrian civil war and negotiatings with iran over the nuclear program. so a very difficult item. >> very important question. a lot of us even on this panel but certainly in the broader political debate were talking about how to punish putin and make pay a price and we need to calibrate it. this custodies to the strategic core of why they need to be calibrated responses, and for for example, if putin annexes the crimea after a referendum in a couple of weeks, then i think we need to have the kind of targeted sanctions i mentioned but not yet talk about preventings russian companies from having access to western banks or having russian firm firms prevented from having access to western oil markets and leaving aside our allies
cannot survive without the russian fuel. we also need to keep a certain degree of restraints in our own reaction because there oar stakes here. if putin decides to take our firm but limited response and escalate further, we may wind up in an uglier place, and then you have to have backup options and other core equities made be affected. the kind of proposals i mentioned, going after putin and his top officials and cronies with targeted sanctions on their travel and finances, has the advantage of being fairly hard against them and limited in a broad ever strategic sense partly for the reasons you mentioned and partly because as bad as this crisis has been and ascertain it would be to see an annexation of crima, even under the auspices proposed at least there hasn't been widespread violence and the limits on russian military operations have been fairly geographically specific so far. i think we do need to continue to incentivize putin not to ask late. that miss overall response to
you question. >> with that, and i -- if you're keeping score of the moderator, we have hit the time exactly. >> also looking good today. so three for three. >> i think i did very well here and the rest of the panel also did well. we have an excellent panel so please join me in thanking the panelists. [applause] [inaudible conversations]